Hyouka – First impressions – Anime

Hyouka

Every morning I get up at 6am, mainly because a certain kitty thinks that this is the appropriate time for food and begins a gentle assault on my face at around 5.30 in preparation for breakfast but also, because I like to give myself 30 minutes every morning in which I can watch an anime episode, read a couple of chapters of a manga or read a chapter of my book while I gently wake myself up before I do battle with the extremely temperamental thermostat on our shower.

I wouldn’t usually revoreki_kun_smile__by_shima2_chan-d52kps1iew or write about an anime until I am finished with it but this morning I watched the first episode of an anime that I had only heard of in passing and it has me so excited that I just couldn’t wait to put some of my thoughts on paper (screen, if you want to get technical).

This morning I thought I would try out ‘Hyouka’ and I am hooked already! The characters are so refreshingly kooky and the exchanges seem really natural and not at all forced. The thing that made it for me though was Houtarou Oreki, the main protagonist whose laid-back and lazy life philosophy is tested by the arrival of Eru Chitanda a vOreki_houtarou_class_lazyery inquisitive and intelligent young girl who for some reason he can’t say no to.

Houtarou’s philosophy of “If I don’t have to do something, I won’t, but if I have to, I’ll do it quickly.” will undoubtedly lead to some very amusing events in the future of the series but it’s not that that draws me in, it just so happens that I love a tsundere and Oreki is a wonderful example of why! His Sherlock-esque deduction skills are kind of at odds with his gentleness and I can’t help but love the way he distracts Chitanda from the story of the ghost in the music room in favour of a mystery of his own fabrication so that he can preserve his own energy without offending her. There is a sweetness hidden beneath that stoic attitude and uninterested appearance that I can’t wait to see more of. (Plus he reminds me of Haru from Free!)

Oreki’s rational, practically mind is the perfect match for Chitanda’s curiosity and I expect that between them they will have a lot of exciting adventures. On top of this the art work and use of lighting is phenomenal, especially within Oreki’s imagination when he looks into Chitanda’s eyes.

I really can’t wait to watch Oreki fall further under Chitanda’s spell and am just dying to devour more of this series! Right now I’d recommend it just based on the animation alone!

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Natsu Dragneel – Fangirling all over the place – Fairytail

From the moment I woke up this morning there has been only one thing, or person rather, on my mind. Today I would like to write about the man responsible for rekindling my love affair with anime and manga… Natsu Dragneel!!

I’m just gonna pop these pictures here so that you (and I) can spend a little bit of time admiring the rosy haired salamander who makes me giddy with happiness every time I see him.

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I will talk about Fairytail in separate blogs because there are more than a few very cool arcs that I am just dying to write about but today I just wanted to express my adoration for this little rosy topped hero. Its pretty amazing that such a destructive force could look this sweet and innocent, right?

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In my opinion, Natsu is equal parts loyal, positive and adorable, he has a real temper and a thirst to prove himself which is probably unmatched in the real world but he is also caring, fiercely protective of his friends and his guild and has a determination and a ‘go get’um’ attitude which is literally unstoppable. At a moment’s notice he can switch from smack-talking and messing around to a pure ball of rage and flames and he can always be relied on to pull his friends through the hard times through pure force of will.

Plus this is what he looked like when he was little:

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And also, this happened!

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I love him >^.^<

Strobe Edge – Io Sakisaka – Manga review

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Earlier in the year, when I began to rekindle my love of anime and manga and started looking for something to read I stumbled across ‘Strobe Edge’. Initially I only chose to read this manga because it has already been completed and I quite liked the look of the artwork. I have a tendency to sway in favour of mangakas whose art features beautiful eyes, and there is no denying that ‘Strobe Edge’ really fit the bill on that front.

This Japanese manga series which was written and illustrated by Io Sakisaka (who also created the recently popular Ao Haru Ride) was originally serialised between 2007 and 2010 and accumulated 10 volumes containing 39 chapters which includes bonus chapters and side stories about some of the fan-favourite supporting characters. Despite only achieving moderate success during its initial serialisation, Strobe edge is now vastly popular and comes very highly recommended. It was even chosen as one of the Top Ten Great Graphic Novels in 2014 by the Young Adult Library Services Association.

strobe-edge-2088369As a shojo manga, naturally, the story revolves around romance and in this case it is the love story of 15-year-old Ninako Kinoshitstrobe-edge-2111043a that comes under the microscope.  Ninako has never been in love but love is all her friends can talk about, the story follows her as she grows to learn what love really is and struggles to hold on to her principles whilst tackling the pain of what she thinks is a one-sided romance.

When pondering the fact that she has never been in love Ninako has an encounter with the most popular boy in school, Ren Ichinose, on the train, it is after this short but sweet encounter that fate deals her a very interesting hand and she learns just what it means to fall for someone. Unfortunately things don’t run smoothly as Ren already in a long-term relationship with Mayuka, a model and the older sister of Ninako’s childhood friend, Daiki.

Ninako is sweet, kind and caring and absolutely adorable to look at but she is also funny, open and not overly cutesy, facts which are portrayed very well throughout the story and makes her a very believable and likable heroine. I suppose the main thing that I love about this manga is the fact that the stories are reasonably realistic and the characters, though over the top in places, are very representative of real teenagers. Ninako’s strong sense of justice is offset against her girlish determination to hold on to her feelings for Ren making her into a well-rounded heroine who you root for from the start. Ren, though popular with the girls at school, is in no way a playboy, he is guarded and quiet around everyone but his friends so as to avoid drawing attention to himself but his true nature shines through despite his best efforts. Kind, caring and conscientious, Ren really is the perfect match for our heroine. Continue reading

Garden of Words – Kotonoha no Niwa – 言の葉の庭 – Anime Review

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Today the streets are awash and my feet are damp. I work in a small market town called Petersfield which is situated in a valley along the A3 route from Portsmouth to London, as such, Petersfield is almost always home to a much more extreme climate than my own home which is only 12 miles away. Virtually every autumn/winter morning as I drive into work I can see mist rising from the valley and feel the darkening skies grow colder and damper, but I don’t mind because there is something kind of comforting about this weather. The cold reminds me that Christmas is around the corner and soon spring will be coming, besides, as soon as I get to work I know I will be snugly tucked up in a warm office doing what I love best, SPREADSHEETS!

Anyway, as I was driving to work this morning and the rain came down heavily around me and my breath fogged the windscreen, I was reminded of one of absolute favourite anime films ‘Garden of Words’. Just thinking about the beautiful animation and artwork made my heart squeeze and got me wishing I could just turn around and go home to watch it.

I think one of the reasons that ‘Garden of Words’ had such an impact on me is because it came so out of the blue. In June I celebrated my 24th birthday and my boyfriend, Jack (who always makes a conscious effort to buy me something that I (A) have not seen before and (B) will love beyond words) bought me a selection of anime blu-rays and treated me to a sushi dinner. Included in my selection that day were ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, two of my favourite Ghibli films. I was extremely excited to get the chance to watch them in this new format but the thing that excited me the most about my birthday haul was the cover that I’d never seen before.

‘Garden of Words’ is now as easily recognisable to me as any Ghibli or Disney film and is my film of choice whenever it’s raining outside or I’m feeling unwell because it is just so touching and unassuming and it has a beauty that sort of resonates with you long after you’ve watched it.

Continue reading

Lovely Complex Anime Review – Love*Com

Lovely_Complex_WikiDespite a residual amount of age-related embarrassment, I am able to say unashamedly that I really do love shojo anime and manga. For the most part it is a perfect balance of drama, sweetness, nostalgia and humour which blend together to create something that is sort of unbelievable and believable all at once, a miraculous form of escapism. More recently the shojo anime I have been watching and the manga I have been reading have all been a little heavier in content with deep-seated emotional trauma and insecurities standing in the way of the main cast’s happiness (Kou’s baggage in ‘Ao Haru Ride’, the whole concept of ‘Kyou no Kira-kun’ and don’t even get me started on ‘Orange’) and I was feeling a little gloomy, it was in my pursuit of a little light relief that I stumbled upon ‘Lovely Complex’ also known as ‘Love*Com’.

Now, I’m not saying that Lovely Complex couldn’t be considered emotional, the storyline still has the potential for feels and the issues of low self-esteem and relationships are tackled as you’d expect from a shojo anime, however these emotional topics are interspersed with snippets of slapstick, extremely unattractive facial expressions and the pure comedic beauty that comes with an awkward teenage romance.

Originally a romantic comedy manga by Aya Nakahara, Love*Com was published by Shueisha in Bessatsu Margaret from 2001 to 2006 and was collected in to 17 volumes. In 2006 adaptations began to surface including a live-action series, an adventure game for the Playstation 2, two drama CDS and, of course, the 24 part anime series from 2007.

Our story follows the emotional turmoil of heroine Risa Koizumi as she comes to terms with her feelings for the other half of her ‘All Hanshin Kyojin’, the basketball playing Atsushi Otani.  As their nickname ‘All Hanshin Kyojin’ suggests, Risa and Atsushi have a very prominent height difference and very similar personalities which are coupled together to create a friendship/rivalry/romance with great potential for both sweetness and comedic value. Continue reading

Finally, in Love Again – Sosuke Kikuchi Main Story – Voltage Inc.

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Okay, lets kick of my reviews with Voltage’s latest story release, Sosuke Kikuchi from ‘Finally, in Love Again’. I plan to review each character and their stories as I read (or re-read them) so expect to see reviews for all of the guys of Voltage at some point.

So for anyone out there who isn’t already aware, ‘Finally, in Love Again’ is a romance simulator or visual novel/otome game released by Voltage Inc. for iPads, iPhones and android. You play as the MC who is a 34 year old woman who hasn’t dated in 10 years, she works as a pastry chef and is repeatedly hassled by her mother, siblings and her best friend, Miho about the impending doom that is her potential life as a spinster.

Uncommonly and interestingly, in this particular Voltage app, all of the romantic interests are younger than the MC which creates some very different dramas from the other apps I have played.

Each Voltage app is free to download and usually comes with a free prologue where you meet all of the characters, you would then pay anything between £1.49 and £2.49 dependent on which stories you choose to read. Each main story is between 10 and 15 chapters long and comes with 2 possible endings. As you read the story and get to know the characters you can make choices which will affect your relationship and eventually decide which of the two potential endings you will end up with.

Prologue:

The prologue of ‘Finally, in Love Again’ sees the MC’s life fall apart before her very eyes. A mistake at work leaves her jobless, it’s her birthday but she is celebrating alone and then to top it all off her mother has signed her up to attend a singles event which ends up being full of people who are all at least 6 years younger than her, including a particularly bitter ex-colleague who makes some rather unnecessary comments. Along the way the MC comes into contact with 5 equally attractive men who then all stand up and profess an interest in her in front of a room full of hopeful singles. Awkward and confusing!

Main Story:

Since Voltage first released ‘Finally, in Love Again’ I have been waiting for Sosuke’s story. In the prologue he is introduced as the quiet, cool guy from Sayama Express who possibly knows a little more about you than he is letting on.

photo 1“It’s been a while, huh”

“I’m sorry. I thought you might be here, so…”

“But… I know you better than anyone else.”

Mysterious or what? From the moment I saw him I was desperate to know his story! We were given a few little glimpses of him in other stories and a little more than a glimpse in Yoh’s route but it wasn’t enough to satisfy my craving. Finally, Voltage have obliged and satisfied my thirst for Sou with what has turned out to be a really rather lovely awkward and realistic romance between a shy but passionate twenty-something and his childhood crush.

Now here’s where things could get a little spoiler heavy! Continue reading

My Confession – About

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I am a Fan-girl and this blog is my confession, a love letter to my fandoms and a diary documenting my findings as I progress through the worlds of anime, manga and otome games.

I am a 24 year old accountant living with my boyfriend in Hampshire, England with a not-so-secret passion for otome games and an ambition to write one myself some day. Our house is home to a very proud cat, a very grumpy rabbit and a reasonably extensive Doctor Who collection. I am also one half of the team running Another Earth Collectables,  and regularly exhibit at conventions across the country meeting wonderful people just like yourselves! When I’m not working, I’m usually crafting, reading or absorbing myself in one of the many fictional universes in which I have made myself a home.

If you’re looking for the unadulterated ramblings of a twenty-something fan-girl then you’ve definitely come to the right place! I’d love it if you’d join me on my adventures and let me know what you think! 🙂

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